Class of 2016: Boehm, Borowski thrived on competition
The challenge to become valedictorian at Burleson High School pushed the top two graduates to be the best students they could be.
After ranking No. 1 in the class since her freshman year, Paulina Borowski found she had become the salutatorian – by a thousandth of a grade-point. Trey Boehm was named the top graduate just a couple of months before commencement.
“It was definitely a very light-hearted competition,” Borowski said. “We were never bitter or cynical toward each other, or anything like that. We did push each other because I know that without that competition, if my next competition was way lower, then maybe I wouldn’t have tried extra hard on that one test or studied all those hours. It was definitely a motivator.”
While Boehm agreed that Borowski pushed him to produce work of a higher quality, he laughingly added that he is glad to have bragging rights over his high school competitor, friend and fellow member of the drum line.
Along with their top-ranking academic performances, Boehm and Borowski managed to be involved in a number of extracurricular activities, including the National Honor Society, band, Key Club, UIL competitions, sports and even roller derby.
“I had a leadership role [in band],” Boehm said. “It definitely gave me experience in how to deal with people effectively without making them angry, or at least trying to make people satisfied.”
Borowski said her “secret formula” to balancing responsibilities and giving her best performance in all of them was her religious use of lists.
“Every week, at some point, I would make a list and write out the days and what I needed to do on each day, and I would not go to bed until I finished everything on my list,” Borowski said. “And that was kind of the key because, you can make lists all day long but, if you don’t do anything on them then it does nothing.”
Although she now ranks second in the class, Borowski is happy for Boehm because he will get a $12,000 tuition waiver his freshman year at Texas A&M University, and she would not have benefitted from it.
“I’m going to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles,” Borowski said. “It is like my dream school. A lot of people think when you’re valedictorian or salutatorian you should go to an Ivy League school but, to me, USC is my personal Ivy League because I want to go into the film industry. It’s definitely my personal Harvard.”
She plans to double major in film production and business administration.
“To go there, it’s like the pinnacle of film schools,” Borowski said. “I applied there and I got in. I didn’t get into the cinema school my first go around, but I got into the business school. So I’m actually entering as a business administration major which is OK because I was planning on double majoring in business and film anyway. So I’ll be able to apply next year and I’ll be working on my portfolio all year alongside the cinema students and professors. I’m confident that I can get into the film school next year and that I can go ahead with my double major.”
Boehm will become an Aggie in the fall when he enters Texas A&M to study engineering.
“I chose A&M because it has a very good engineering program,” he said. “I love math, and [engineering] has applications of math where you can use creativity to design things and possibly contribute to the world in some way. I want to make something that will make a difference.”
Overall, the pair said their time at BHS taught them the importance of keeping a strong work ethic.
“I learned a lot here,” Borowski said. “I learned persistence because I had to not only do good freshman year, but I had to keep up doing well or I was going to fall behind, especially with that close competition. I don’t think I ever really let up. I had to keep persisting in my level of achievement.”